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"X" Marks the Hero

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Probably the most iconic and distinctive form of a Good Scar, this scar consists of two clean, intersecting cuts that form a cross or X on the hero's face. Generally, it serves to imply that the hero has been through quite a few skirmishes while making them look badass.

How the hero got such a scar is usually not explained. Part of our brain tells us that getting such a scar in battle is highly unlikely, if not impossible, unless they're deliberately inflicted, such as in torture. Another common possibility, rarely addressed, is that the two scars which form the X had been inflicted in different instances. Don't confuse with "X" Marks the Spot, which is the phrase this trope was named after.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • The poster child and provider of this trope's page image is Kenshin Himura of Rurouni Kenshin fame. The cross-shaped scar is associated with him so utterly that characters with this scar are regularly accused to ripping the idea from him, even if they predate him by years. Unlike many examples, Kenshin's scar proves to be from two separate incidents. In the anime, the second one was deliberately inflicted so as to make it an X.
  • Domon Kasshu from Mobile Fighter G Gundam has such a scar, the origins of which are mostly unexplained. It's a quick indicator of his ten-year Training from Hell. A gag manga "reveals" that it's actually marker that Master Asia drew on his face as punishment for messing up during said training, and he messed up so often that it became permanent.
  • Teppei Takamiya of B't X has one on his forehead, in which he claims that he got it from intense training.
  • Full Metal Panic!'s Sousuke Sagara has had one of these since he was at most twelve-years old (and likely younger). It's origins have yet to pop up, but fanon suspects that they were inflicted during torture. Humorously, his Bonta-kun costume has the same scar.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Yamcha has one.
    • Goku's father, Bardock, also had one of these. While he can't exactly be called a good guy, he was the closest thing there was to an actually heroic Saiyan at the time.
  • Subverted in Naruto where Danzo has one of these on his chin. Maybe.
  • Mikage from 07-Ghost in both incarnations.
  • Thatz in Dragon Knights has a small cross-shaped scar on one cheek and a larger slash mark across his face.
  • One Piece:
    • Whie vice-admiral Doberman is a villainous character, he stands out for having no less than six X-shaped scars scattered across his face and neck.
    • Coby also got one above his right eye at some point while training with Garp. It helps show that he Took a Level in Badass.
    • Anti-hero X Drake has one on his chin.
    • Laboon, a whale, is covered in x-shaped scars from his attempts to destroy Reverse Mountain by bashing it with his head.
    • After the Time Skip, Luffy also has a huge X shaped scar on his chest. He got it from Admiral Akainu during the war at Marineford. If you check him out while Jimbei is carrying him, you can see it's still fresh.
  • Double subverted in Fullmetal Alchemist. Scar, who has one of these across his forehead, starts out as a He Who Fights Monsters-style Anti-Villain, but the ensuing Character Development slowly turns him into an Anti-Hero instead.
  • Juumonji from Eyeshield 21 sports one. He is a Delinquent Jerk with a Heart of Gold. His father has the same scar, though in a different place. Hero marks are apparently genetic in the Eyeshield 21 universe, though given everything else that is perfectly acceptable.

    Comic Books 
  • John Hartigan of Sin City: That Yellow Bastard has an X-scar on his forehead.
  • One Marvel comics character, Agent X, was distinguishable early on for these scars across his face. After being healed of these during a quasi-mystic ritual, he disappeared for a while. When he came back later on, the scars were back; he apparently carved them back on himself!
  • Cable has one over his eye, although sometimes it's drawn with 3 lines instead of just 2.
  • the "hero" of Just a Pilgrim has a cross-shaped scar over his eye. It's not the result of a cut, instead he pushed a heated crucifix into his face when he thought God broke him out of prison.
  • Crossed: The titular Crossed have cross-shaped scar tissue to mark their being contaminated.
  • Inverted in White Sand - X-shaped scar on the forehead marks the fanatic warrior-priest daikeen who want to murder the hero.
  • Inverted in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios). The post-Time Skip arc introduces Dayne, an alien assassin on Lord Zedd's payroll with a prominent x-shaped scar.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In the latter books of The Dark Tower, Callahan has a cross-shaped scar. It was a memento from two would-be killers, who had tried to carve a swastika into his forehead, but were interrupted.
  • Redeemed Ulic Qel-Droma, from the Tales of the Jedi series, has this scar on his forehead.
  • Ripred gets this type of scar near the end of Gregor and the Code of Claw from himself, so he could fill the role of a person from one of Sandwich's prophecies.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem:
  • This is an option for custom characters in Soul Calibur 3
  • Mass Effect allows the player to give Shepard this particular scar. Mordin Solus also has one.
  • Bang Shishigami of BlazBlue has one of these within his massive collection of uber-manly characteristics.
  • Mega Man X's Axl has one of these. Why, as a robot, he hasn't had them fixed up is never even brought up. However, it does heal when using his White Armor in X8.
  • Doumeki Kai of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan has this. One wonders where he got it, since he is, after all, head of a cheerleading squad.
  • Ouendan's Spiritual Sequel Elite Beat Agents has Commander Khan. Slightly more understandable, since he was a former CIA agent, but not by much.
  • Zack Fair of Final Fantasy VII fame has one of these on his cheek. Crisis Core shows how he got it... but strangely it only shows him getting one cut on his cheek.
  • Inverted in Kingdom Hearts, as Saix has a big ol' X right across the bridge of his nose, and he's not a heroic sorta guy. We later learn that he's been slowly turning into yet another Xehanort host for some time, and Xehanort's obsession with that letter involves using it to brand his "property". This raises some worrying questions about how he got that scar...
  • Sue from Cave Story has one of these across the bridge of her nose.
  • Raven from Tekken has the two scars in the middle of his face, meeting above the nose.
  • Oscar, a sniper from Valkyria Chronicles, sports one of these on the left side of his forehead. He acquired it when he protected his brother in an unexplained incident from when they were children. Musaad, a scout, also sports a similar one in the same place. His scar likely came from his involvement in the previous war in the backstory of the game, him being a famous war veteran and all.
  • Glenn in Chrono Cross. Due to Sprite Mirroring, it's hard to say whether he has these on both cheeks or just one. And this is only the kid brother of the really heroic knight.
  • Skullgirls:
    • Painwheel's mask usually hides these scars, but in instances where we see her without it, you can see that the areas where the mask was stitched on to her face have caused a large X-shaped mark to form across her face.
    • Leduc bears two X-shaped scars, visible in one of his talksprites in Big Band's storymode. They're situated on his lower cheeks on either side of his mouth, making them sort of similar to a Glasgow Grin.
    • Amusingly, Isaac appears to have one of these in his hair.
  • Xenoblade has Riki, who has a large X shaped scar-like mark in his fluffy Nopon stomach. Why he has it is never brought up, but it sure is appropiate for the Nopon with the title of Heropon.
  • The bosses in Splatoon all have this, with the only arguably "heroic" of them being DJ Octavio, who is trying to keep the Octarians from losing their power supply and dying out; the rest are machines. Arguable because they're the ones who reignite a century-old conflict.
  • An option for the Player Characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic is a large, uneven cross over the right eye and the nose. It is not exclusive to the "good guys", but the players are - even at their most evil - invariably the "heroes" of the story.
  • Two of the protagonists in Live A Live have x-shaped scars on their cheek; Mecha Chapter protagonist Akira Tadokoro and partymember/possible protagonist provided she survives Li Kuugo. Akira's is easily seen in what official art of the game exists, but Li's only gets seen if she's selected as the main character for the final chapter, in which case the player will be treated to a shot of her face after the credits.
  • Reiji from Persona is seemingly just another violent delinquent, but the cross scar on his forehead highlights his possible status as a heroic party member.

    Visual Novels 
  • The entire Kuki family in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! have X-shaped scars on their forehead Even the illegitimate Monshiro made herself a scar to fit in the family.

    Web Comics 
  • Deus in Grrl Power has what looks like an X-shaped scar across his face. Being a Magnificent Bastard villain rather than a hero, he makes it look good, and scores bonus points for making it part of a pun — he’s Deus, with an X, who runs Machina Industries.
  • Hanna has an X-shaped scar, but it's not on his face, it's on the sole of his foot. (He might have one on each foot, it's hard to tell.) X shapes are a motif of the comic in general and Hanna in particular; it's anyone's guess how much of it is related to Hanna's Mysterious Past and how much is just because Tessa likes to draw cross shapes.
  • Sir Muir, in the webcomic Harkovast has scars crossing over his right eye.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: While calling Scarlet a hero is a stretch, the x-shaped scar on her mouth is unique and makes her more noticeable, especially regarding Case X.
  • Aqua Regia: Has the protagonist, having an X-shaped scar that he hides with his long hair, in chapter 7 it's revealed that he got it at the end of his conscript year, because a friend and mentor of his was about to be raped due the fact he was homosexual, something that's sadly Truth in Television. Daniel jumped at the guys and saved him, but he ended up tortured instead. Months later, his then girlfriend tells him that he should be proud of that scar, because even if he got desfigured, he did the right thing.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Breaking glass, usually of the sort where it was forcefully stabled into someone, can make miniaturized versions of these types of wounds. In this case the shards breaking off and being forced outward cases a shape like this, although less or more than four "spokes" are also common. If the wound heals it can form a smaller version of this trope, though who is to say if they are heroic.
  • X-shaped scars did and do apparently appear on the sorts of people whose living takes them in the path of people wielding blades of all descriptions. Turns out a lot of people will instinctively try to cut the same area in rapid succession and back in the old days you had to focus on any vulnerable areas you could get. However the cheek is one of least likely for this to happen. A single swipe that connects with the cheek is likely to cut all the way through and a subsequent strike wouldn't make a clean line on the floppy dangling cheek bits after things were all stitched back together. You're welcome for that imagery.


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